October 1, 2022
What Happens If Pope Francis Resigns? The Protocols in Place for Retirement

Speculation about Pope Francis’ future continues to grow as the Vatican announced Friday he would not be going on a scheduled trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan this July.

“At the request of his doctors, and in order not to jeopardize the results of the therapy that he is undergoing for his knee, the Holy Father has been forced to postpone, with regret, his Apostolic Journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo and to South Sudan, planned for 2 to 7 July, to a later date to be determined,” said Matteo Bruni, the director of the Holy See Press Office, in a statement.

The knee problem has caused the pope, 85, to use a wheelchair at recent events. And, in July 2021, he underwent intestinal surgery, which kept him in the hospital for 10 days.

While rumors of the pope being ill and ready to resign are common in Italian media, the speculations were renewed by the announcement that the pope will travel to L’Aquila in central Italy in late August—similarly to previous (rare) popes who have retired.

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